The Kill

Subject:      The kill
From:         ace <>
Date:         1997/01/19
Message-Id:   <5bt6pb$>
Newsgroups:   talk.bizarre

                                                        To X

Every now and again, I would still see him.  Always from a distance,
never close, and rarely would he acknowledge my existence.  Had it not
been for the great care he took in casually avoiding me, I could have
believed that he had forgotten about me.

People would never believe me when I said that he had tamed me.  An
animal, especially one as wild and solitary as he was, would never do
that; but he had.  He had approached me, he had picked me out, wanting
to play, and later wanting to be caressed.  I had allowed him to come
close to me, because I had known there was no danger.  I had played with
him and enjoyed it, because he would play with me as if I were an equal,
or even a cub; one with whom he didn't need any defence.  And soon I had
slept between his paws, and never felt safer.

I learned from him, learned to anticipate his movements, learned to
enjoy it when his claws tickled my face and I had strived to equal him.
I also learned about his scars, the chain he must have worn, the fights
he must have fought, and I saw how alert he was to anything that could
pose a threat. I noticed that--although my presence seemed to calm him--
he would never go far, never claim all of the territory that was his.

And then, one day, too soon, it was all over and he made me leave,
denying me access to all the places that had become mine too.  He
growled at me, and only impatiently let me collect my belongings and

For a while I could not bear to see him and the relief he seemed to
feel, and I avoided him.  Then, later, he would look more wild and
foreign than he ever had, and all the tenderness I had seen in him
seemed to have been banned as well.  A hurt and bitter animal, growling
at everyone, killing its prey in a cruel and ruthless way.

People started to hate him, and talked about chasing him and killing
him.  He had strong survival instincts, and his bitterness seemed to
sharpen those, because he would never give them a real excuse to kill

He would never change, that I knew, and his loneliness would only make
him more determined to stay.  People would hate him more, and he would
never give up, and never let them win.  He would just be there, and
nurse his hate.  I started carrying a gun.

Of course I met him, one winter's day, chasing a hunter up a tree.  The
man had apparently tried to shoot him, and hit him, because I could see
traces of blood in the snow.  I got my gun out of my pocket, and waited.
He saw me, sank back on all fours, and slowly started towards me.
I pointed my gun at him, and the man shouted "Kill him!  Kill him!
Come on, now is your chance!"

But I did not move.  The animal had stopped, and looked at me.  A
beautiful animal, despite the wound, despite the hate that possessed
him, despite everything that had happened.  Then he turned, and moved
away, away from the tree.

And then I shot.

(  )~ __________________________________________ (c) ace <>